Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With four days to go before free agency, members of the Knicks organization still believe they have a chance to sign their top targets: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.
It would be a disappointing blow if New York missed out on those targets given the moves the club made to set up their cap situation for this summer. But the Knicks have some contingency plans.
If they miss out on those top targets, the Knicks will have strong interest in young bigs Julius Randle and Bobby Portis, per SNY sources.
Portis is a restricted free agent, so the Knicks would need to offer him a contract for at least two seasons. New York isn't interested in offering long-term contracts to free agents this summer if they miss on their top targets. But that could leave them behind other suitors for Randle and Portis.
It's reasonable to assume that both young bigs could command offers longer than two seasons. But the Knicks, if they have $70 million in cap space to spend, could offer significant annual value on a short-term deal.
League sources confirmed to SNY that the Knicks are also considering making a significant short-term offer to DeMarcus Cousins. But some in the organization have said that going after younger players like Randle and Portis is a priority that's ahead of pursuing Cousins, who will be 29 at the beginning of next season.
Regarding the backcourt, Kemba Walker signing with Boston could open up an avenue for the Knicks with Celtics guard Terry Rozier.
SNY reported on Wednesday that the Knicks were keeping an eye on Rozier in case he becomes available as an unrestricted free agent. If Boston signs Walker -- and the club is the leader for Walker at the moment, per ESPN -- the Celtics will likely have to renounce their rights to Rozier, making him unrestricted.
If this comes to fruition, the Knicks will have significant interest in Rozier if they miss out on Durant, Leonard and Irving, per SNY sources.
Some in the organization say that they would prefer to offer Rozier a short-term deal, as they would with other free agents if they miss out on their top targets, per SNY sources.
Again, this is all dependent on where Durant decides to sign. The Knicks will have significant competition from the Brooklyn Nets for Durant. Teams pursuing Irving believe they are the odds-on favorite to land the point guard. If they land Iriving, the Nets would also have enough money to sign Durant. Earlier reports stated that Durant will strongly consider Brooklyn, which SNY sources confirm.
If Durant and Irving sign with the cross-town rival Nets, it will be tough to swallow for the Knicks and their fan base after they were believed to be strongly in the running for both a few weeks ago.
That belief was rooted in reality. People around Durant said during the season that he would give the Knicks strong consideration if he decided to leave Golden State. Maybe he still will. But his Achillies injury has changed the dynamic.
The Athletic first reported the Knicks as a potential suitor for Rozier. The New York Times was first to report the Knicks weighing the idea of making a short-term offer to Cousins.